In the push to target dangerous individuals and protect children from sexual violence, lawmakers have indiscriminately targeted some youth with legislation that publicly brands them as sexual predators. This is bad policy because public registries not only fail to protect communities, but they hurt young people by stigmatizing them and alienating them from crime-reducing social networks like families, schools and jobs. This fact sheet debunks some of the most common mis-perceptions about young people convicted of sex
FICTION: Youth commit a large portion of sex offenses.
FACT: Less than 1 percent of all arrests of youth 17 years of age and younger were for sex offenses. 1 In 2006, youth 17 years of age and younger accounted for 18 percent of arrests for sex offenses. Youth under the age of 15 accounted for 9 percent of sex offense arrests in the same year.
FICTION: Youth convicted of sex offenses will become adults who commit sex offenses.
FACT: Research has shown that a young person who commits a sex offense is unlikely to commit another one.
• Recidivism rates are difficult to ascertain and compare because states and localities often define recidivism differently. However, a few academic studies have attempted to determine recidivism rates generally for youth and specifically for sex offenses. Overall, general ecidivism rates for youth convicted of all offenses are higher than recidivism rates for youth convicted of sex offenses. ..Continued.. by Justice Policy Institute